Voice of SMEs says Autumn Statement brings hope for small businesses
The UK200Group of independent accountancy and law firms, a voice that reflects the views of their 150,000-plus SME clients, has declared the Autumn Statement a successful one for UK SMEs. A number of new measures were announced by George Osborne, the first being a way that will transform how SMEs access finance. The government plans for Experian, Equifax and CreditSafe to each receive SME credit information from designated banks and provide access to this information to finance providers. It's thought that this will promote competition in the SME credit market. In another move, from April 2016 the new Employment Allowance will rise to £3,000, which is set to benefit over 1m employers and help many businesses take on their first employee. For SMEs looking to take on an apprentice, Osborne announced that small businesses will continue to receive support. The apprenticeship levy – which will be introduced in April 2017 – aims to raise £3bn a year and will be set at 0.5% of the payroll bill. However, as the chancellor announced that there will be a £15,000 allowance, only around 2% of UK employers – none of which will be SMESs – will have to pay for it. The Autumn Statement also brought news that the Small Business Rate Relief in England will be extended until April 2017. Declan Swan, CEO of UK200Group, said: 'Today's Autumn Statement has shown that the government sees the importance of SMEs for this country's economy. By promoting competition for SME credit and encouraging more apprentices to start work, as well as extending the Small Business Rate Relief, the chancellor has shown that he is committed to supporting the UK's SMEs.'
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